This week I was reminded of one of the most important lines in the Declaration of Independence – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
I find it amazing to think of how progressive and bold Thomas Jefferson, the primary author was over 200 years ago. And as I think about the week in review, this quote, and the snippets that I hear from the news, I propose that we turn our views in a more positive direction and start to live the challenge that TJ made to us in and around 1776. It is time for us to live and promote this unalienable right to the Pursuit of Happiness. We also need to make it our mission to get others to do the same - we have this “right” we might as well use it to enable us to live better more fulfilled lives. I am sure that like me, you know that when you are happy most everything else falls into place. What is even cooler is that I realized a long time ago that happiness really is a choice that I get to make. I get to decide my happiness – others can try to take it away but they can do so only if I let them. Rare is a time that I allow this to be. Further to the point, while others can have more power, more money, more anything they cannot be happier than me. I have to tell you it is a very empowering and uplifting thought. Makes for easy nights when you can put your head on the pillow smiling, happy and looking forward to the next day.
To be clear being happy does not mean dumbed-down or always satisfied or completely fulfilled – what it means is that you have control over your mental state and that you have positive feelings about yourself and your life. Seems to me that since it is our life then we should be happy about it or do something about it. Remember, it is our unalienable right to do so. So, then what is the issue? Why are more people not happy? Seems to me an easy thing to do, no you say? Give me a moment to tell a story – I found out in person recently, and in a very deep way, that happiness is not about material goods and high class life circumstance - I was in Brooklyn a few weeks ago meeting students graduating from the Pennfoster Job Corp High School. Considered the most at risk teenagers in the community I expected a tough and troubled group. Boy was I surprised. They appeared to be the model teenagers. Well spoken, polite, and HAPPY - so happy they could not stop smiling. They were the poster child for happy. Why? Simple – they did something for themselves, believed in themselves and had a few others to keep them believing in themselves. Not a complicated equation. The results were amazing – from heartbreak we created happy, productive people. Yes indeed the unalienable right to pursue happiness.
And now back to the program, I believe one of the core issues for why this “happiness thing” is not ubiquitous is that we lack role models of happy people. Role models allow us to copy them, be inspired by them and help us get to that place of happiness that we all want to be in. Think about the following for a minute – please name three people who you know are happy all of the time (in your personal life, in the news and at work). I hope you can come up with one in each category but I would bet you would stall if you tried to get to ten happy people. This seems a bit sad – remember it is our unalienable right to pursue happiness. Maybe we are just bad at it – or maybe we just need a reminder, a push, a tug to make this pursuit a real one. So, let’s make it real – let’s collectively take on the challenge to be happier ourselves and to make others happy. Do one thing each day – one for yourself and one for someone else that makes you/them happy. I bet you anything that in a weeks’ time as this group embraces this challenge we will start to see a change in the people we know and interact with – they will be happier and getting even happier every day.
I think R.E.M. got it right when they wrote Shiny Happy People – that is what we need to be – let’s go do it!
**** crazy week – recap – Did 90 hours of Pennfoster stuff (some call it work), exercised 20 hours, slept 31 hours, watched 16 Ted videos, ran 51 miles, biked (spin) 12 hours, did about 1500 pushups, ate 12 PB&J sandwiches and had fun doing all of it.
Sally and I did well tonight made it to the end again – 179 pushups on 4:17 – lost a few from yesterday but that is ok – time is my friend.
Get ready for next week – not sure what it will bring but I am sure it will be Happy! Yea, Baby, Happy Joe…………..you can stop laughing at me now…..
Loving life – that’s all